tv Charlie Rose PBS August 6, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. tonight we talk about the iran nuclear deal because the president of the united states made an important speech at american university this morning. joining me richard haass chemi shalev jonathan alter and mark dubowitz. >> charlie, this deal is moving forward, this deal is moving forward even if there are 80 senators who vote in a joint resolution of disapproval. it's moving forward because the statutory sanctions block in the legislation that supposedly will prevent the president from giving the sanctions relief kmted to under the deal can be advice yated by the president using executive orders by dedesignated iranian entities and declaring the central bank of iran which one of the key central ledge slave that that was unconstitutional. the president said that in 2012. the president is moving forward on that deal. >> rose: we mark the final show of the daily show by
jon stewart of an appreciation of what he has done in 16 years we talk to dan pfeiffer ken auletta dave itzkoff brooke gladstone an bill charter. >> he embodies two things that happened over the past 16 years the first is the digitallization of the news because jon stewart's influence was not just what people saw, if they were watching comedy central at night it was in the clips that were shared on facebook and twitter, the various things he would do. and also he came of age at he exact time when our politics in the media were getting incredibly absurd and he pointed that out in a way no one else would which is why so many people particularly the young people who were an important part of obama's coalition watched. >> rose: the president makes a case for the iran deal and a group of media observers make the case for the impact of jon stewart. when we continue. >> funding for >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by:
>> rose: additional funding provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with the iran nuclear deal. president obama made his case for it this morning as congress prepares to vote on the resolution by september 17th. the president made his case at american university where jfk delivered a speech on nuclear diplomacy in 1963. president obama argued that failure to approve the deal would be a historic mistake. he presented it as a choice between war and diplomacy. >> i've had to make a lot of tough calls as president.
but whether or not this deal is good for american security is not one of those calls. it's not even close. without this deal the scenario that critics warn about happening in 15 years could happen six months from now. by killing this deal congress would not merely pave iran's pathway to a bomb, it would accelerate it. what's more likely to happen should congress reject this deal is that iran would end up with some form of sanctions relief without having to accept any of the constraints or inspections required by this deal. so in that sense the critics are right. walk away from this agreement and you will get a better deal for iran, so let's not mince words. the choice we face is ultimately between diplomacy or some form of war. maybe not tomorrow maybe
not three months from now but soon. john f. kennedy cautioned here more than 50 years ago at this university that the pursuit of peace is not as draumic as the pursuit of war. but it's so very important. it is surely the pursuit of peace that is most needed in this world so full of strife. >> rose: joining me richard haass, president of the council on foreign relations. chemi shalev. the u.s. editor and correspondent for the israeli newspaper haaretz jonathan alter and mark dubowitz, executive director of the foundation for defense of democracies. i'm pleased to have all of them here to talk about this vital question. in fact, the president of the united states said today it is the most consequence foreign policy debate since
the decision to go to war in iraq the decision made in bush 43 administration not the one you served. >> i actually served both. >> rose: well, yes. was it? you were at the state department when the decision to go to war in iraq the second time is this the most consequence debate in american foreign policy a since the decision to go to war? and why? >> it is certainly high on the list am you could argue that the decision not to get involved in syria was quite consequential. you could argue that some of the decisions on trade agreements are extraordinarily consequential but yes this is high both in the specifics, given the iran nuclear issue, given how already turbulent the middle east is, and the fact the united states has put a lot of credibility on the line. so the stakes now transcend the regional. and also there is the issue of american reliability and predictability. so yes this is a high stakes issue, for sure. >> rose: the most
consequential debate for america, do you think? >> it is certainly one of the most consequential debates for america. and it is certainly one of the most consequential events in the history of the relations between israel and the united states. i think a fact that was accentuate whatted today by the speech which was unprecedented in its singling out of israel in such an important forum for beinged only rejectionist country in the world and for attacking the prime minister both directly and by implication. i don't think we've seen anything like that ever before. and i think it will make-- it's going to be a bracing speech for israelis. and i think for many reasons also for a lot of people who belong or are connected to the jewish establishment. >> rose: they will take offense at it? >> they will take offense at some of it yes. president obama if i can talk just for a minute about american jaus he sort of touched on raw nerves that
american jews have. he spoke in ways that remained -- he spoke about the lobbyists and the tens of millions of dollars which reminded people of president bush's famous-- first bush famous press conference in which he spoke of himself as a tinny little man standing up to a thousand lobbyists over the hill which is one of the more uncomfortable events in israeli-- in jewish relations with the administration. and he says that he doesn't think that he should act because it creates friction with such an ally with the good allay of america. which reminded people of president reagan who once said that foreign shall drn -- foreign countries should not be dictating the foreign policy of the united states. >> rose: well he was right. >> i'm sure he was right but nonetheless is it is the difference between knowing something and saying somethingment i think it was a bit-- it's to the-- i think it was tough for people in israel at least and in the jewish community expected. >> rose: a lot of people take offense in america, at the efforts of the israeli
prime minister to come here and to lobby congress the way he did and speak against the president the way he did. which it seemed to me even more dramatic than a speech at american university. >> there are a lot of people in israel who criticized the way the prime minister is handling this. my newspaper had an interview with the president of israel published on friday in which he criticizes the way that the prime minister is handling relations with the united statesment especially on the issue of iran. and he thinks that the prime minister should show more restraint. but one does not negate the other. you can be critical of the prime minister and still be offended, say by the tone that the president-- . >> rose: offended by both. i want to come back to this because you have the idea that the prime minister would have been much better served if he had come over and said let me speak to some peoplement let me make clarely the point that i believe in and let's have a dialogue here. rather than going full force against the president. >> yeah, i think if it's a stark choice of yes or no it doesn't give you a lot of chance to influence things. and essentially it's a black
or white decision. what i testified on earlier this week before the senate armed services committee an where i actually think the united states will come out will be something a little bit in between. that if there is a decision to go ahead with the agreement, they will have to be added to it whether formal leigh or informally a set of condition ofs. what would be intolerable that iran would do now in the way of noncompliance. what what be intolerable in 10 or 15 years in terms of their nuclear arsenal. what we would do in order to reassure israel the saudis and others in the meantime so say in the case of th amendments to the treaty am what i am thinking of is a white house statement or companion legislation or a joint resolution that would make it clear how the united states plans to address what i would claim that are the clear flaws-- . >> rose: this is what the impact of law. >> yeah, which hopefully the
president would-- would back. and again, i think this is a serious leigh flawed agreement. that is my own view. but if it is going to come into affect then i think it's incumbent on the united states to address and compensate for those flaws. >> rose: you talked a lot members of the intelligence community in israel, or at least one. >> well you know the interesting thing is there's an impression in the united states that all of israel is against us. and i think that apac and other lobbyists have tried to, you know push that across. obviously the political establishment in israel including the labour party is against the deal am but if you talk to former intelligence officials former heads moussad shinbet, which is the internal security service people in the defense ministry, about 70 of them have signed a letter saying look this deal might not be perfect. there are some real problems with it. but it's basically a done deal. and it is harming israel to
continue to object to it instead of moving forward to focus on how will we convince president obama to really focus on interdiction of iranian arms shipments to hezbollah. and if the whole series of other issues that they're worried about when sanctions are lifted. and so i think it's totally proper to focus on as richard is on those downstream issues. but first you have to get to the point where the deal is approved. and what was really striking to me about this speech today, charlie which i think was one of the most important of barack obama's presidency, this has been his top issue since the day he came to office cuz he prioritizes nuclear weapons at the very top of his job right. so he raised the stakes in two important ways. he basically said that the credibility that was the word he used, of the united states was on the line. and that if the deal was defeated, we would no longer
be the anchor of the international system of collective security which has existed since the end of world war ii. we have been the leaders of the world in collective security. he said that will end if the deal is rejected. the other thing is he intentionally delivered a highly partisan speech in which he was essentially saying to the democratic party, you desert me on this you're no longer democrats. this is a bedrock issue for you if you are a democrat. >> rose: if they desert him on this he's in trouble. >> right, and so the republicans need 13 senators to desert it's not likely. but he's trying to make sure that those 13 are not convinced by this powerful lobbying campaign. >> rose: let's raise this question that you just said about the speech and what the president said. if this deal does not pass and we clearly are going to have a huge debate it's in force already with lobbying and every other kind of possible means to influence. will it have that impact? will we no longer be in your
judgement the anchor for -- >> this deal is moving forward. this deal is moving forward even if there are 80 senators who vote in a joint resolution of disapproval. it's moving forward because the statutory sanctions bloc that is in the legislation that supposedly will represent the president from giving the sanctions relief committed to the deal with be visiated by the president by de-- and by declaring that the central bank of iran one of the key legislative sanctions is that legislative sanction was unconstitutional. the president actually said that in 2012. so the president is moving forward with this dell. nobody is killing this dole. the only question that one has to ask is how do we actually empower the next president to be tougher to actually implement some of the suggestions that richard is making to potentially go back and renegotiate key amendments to this deal whether you think that's possible or not. the fact of the matter is in u.s. history there have been over 200 agreements international agreements
where congress has said no. and we want these amendments. and presidents have-- presidents have gone back and renegotiated agreements. some of those were major agreements in the cold war where the soviet union had thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us. so whether you think it can be done with lebling islation as richard suggested or amending this deal, the fact of the matter is you need to empower the next president to negotiate tougher with iranians or implement the current flawed agreement in a much more vigorous way. and i think that a vote of disapproval will actually do that. >> it pulls a thread on the wol deal. it would be disastrous for the unites states. >> i didn't much like the speech. i thought it was quite unpresidential. and i thought -- >> you thought it was quite partisan. >> and the fact that edition parraged critics who he said were wrong about iraq or other issues some would say why should we listen to you on this if you were wrong about syria or libya. i thought it was way over the top and i thought he actually in that sense hurt his own case am you about he did open the door on one interesting thing. he drew a parallel to the
salt and star a emgrews am he said look this is a temporary arms control agreement. it will expire after 10 or 15 years on centrifuges or enrichment. there could be follow-on agreements. so that to me is exactly the point it is not so much amending this agreement but one of the things we ought to do pronto is meet with the europeans with the brits, the french the germans, the chain ease and russians and talk about the follow-on agreement. >> rose: what about the gulf nations. >> exactly, them too. we do to the want after 10 or 15 years iran to become an industrial scale nuclear power. whether they technically have weapons or they are one screwdriver turn away interest that, that is not an acceptable outcome. so we ought to be thinking sooner rather than later about what is the follow-on agreement to this agreement. >> rose: what is your sense of where senator schumer is? >> my sense is first of all that senator consumer at least in some part is where he wants to be he is at the centre of the world. >> that is before he makes his decision. >> i didn't ask for a commentary on the way senator schumer's ego is
served. >> i don't have any special knowledge if i had to guess on what people -- >> you have people who know the jewish community. >> their assumption is that he will vote against the deal. >> rose: people talking to him, the assumption is he will vote against them. these are people -- >> he will not override a veto. >> rose: he will vote against but not everride a veto. >> that is true i think of many of the democrats even those already coming out and saying that they will oppose a deal -- >> between the two votes or after the initial vote to disapprove, then the presidential veto that is when i believe the white house will have to engage in a conversation which senators and congressman about what are the u.s. policies will be introduced into the mix. how would we specifically deal with suspected noncompliance. >> rose: are you recommending that they have a vote against? >> not recommending it. >> rose: do you think it would be the best thing? i will phrase it anyway that et gos the answer. >> whether it happens then or afterwards, i think the best thing is the united states effectively has an addendum to this agreement
that will deal with three issues. how do we deal with noncompliance. because the agreement is quite vague in many areas. what are we going to do regionally to offset the fact that iran is going to have more resources to pursue it's imperial aims. >> rose: hasn't the president spoken to that. >> i don't think so. >> rose: he has clearly spoken to it whether he has in detail. >> and thirdly how we deal with the long term nuclear challenge. >> rose: basically we know some the 100 billion dollars will be used for that. but that is high on our own -- >> fine what are we going to do about syria? because right now it's going to put iran in a better special to support al-assad. what do we do in terms of other challenges that iran is-- with hezbollah, with hamas, it would be important to have this conversation. >> rose: i repeat what he says. he says look we're trying to do that every day, regardless of this agreement. >> this agreement does exacerbate that. >> in some way you would want that as a sense as a senate resolution not as binding law. you and i have talked often about your view that the executive should have a free hand in foreign policy.
so you wouldn't want congress tying his hand just going on record with -- >> maybe the president on record. i can imagine a formal exchange between the two the president could have a communication say to senator corker, the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. one way or the other, i think it's important that countries in the region who are friends understand-- . >> rose: but if that's not possible -- >> i think it will be possible. >> rose: but if it's not possible should this agreement be voted down? if you don't have the additional steps that you are recommending, should this agreement be voted down in your judgement. >> it is a costly move to vote it down but again i think that in order to get the votes, in order to pass this, you will need to do the sort of thing i'm suggesting. >> rose: why is it costly to vote it down? >> i think there's two-- because the sexes will already fall apart as the president promises. >> a bill of that. the chinese an russias will clearly go, the europeans to some extent will. i think the global perceptions of the unites states i don't want to compare it to the league of nations, that's overly dramatic but there is a sense that we have gone very
far down the pike. and for the united states to simply not act in a unified way despite our constitution would be problematic that is what iran would do. i think the president may have overstated it. that it's war or diplomacy. but there is the question of whether iran would use the-- an american vote to disapprove as an excuse to once again start restarting some of its nuclear activities. and that's a possibility. >> we need to be really clear about this we what get the worst of both worlds if the deal is rejected. we would have no eyes on iran, and their program. and we would basically incentivize them to race towards developing a weapon. >> rose: with whatever actions. >> no sanctions, the idea that somehow sanctions are going to be reapply-- reapplied that china an russia which have a veto in the security council, who the president has very assiduously convinced-- . >> rose: do you believe it will make inevitable the use of military force to -- >> well inevitable is a
strong word. but i think the president is right that it is dramatically increases the lakely hood of military action, that it is unpredictable. this was a very important point he made today. people who want to start wars aren't quite sure how they are going to end. >> i disagree with that. the president said over and over again that no deal is better than a bad deal. so when he said that-- . >> rose: everybody says that. >> when he said that, he must have instructed the entire inner agency to come to him with a comprehensive plan of alternatives which included the possibility of military force, but also the use of sanctions, of course of dilom see of cybersab stage, of covert action, he must have had a comprehensive plan. we would be interested to know what was your alternative to that deal because no command never chief would go in a negotiation particularly with a hardened negotiator like zarif orr uhanni without an all-- alternative. we know that from negotiations 101 you get taken to the cleaners. he had an alternative. let's look at the alternative, i testified fair times before the congress in the past week
and detailed scenario planning on what are the alternatives. and i disagree with that after spending a decade working on sanctions people fundamentally misunderstand. we don't sanctions countries. the genius of what the u.s. treasury did and the u.s. congress did was they essentially created an environment of risk so that financial institutions and energy companies and insurance companies made a fundamental decision you either access to the 17 trillion dollar u.s. economy or the 400 billion iranian economy. and if you make the wrong choice, there will be consequences. and many companies paid that price. i don't believe a congressional vote of approval that these companies will be rushing in. >> i don't buy this argument there is going to be some gold rush. i think that they are going to be very cautious of going back into iran because of the counterparty risk and more importantly the political risk. >> rose: i read one-story after another about how people are lining up to go back in if the sanctions are lifted. >> i want to point out that the alternatives that were prepared by the administration in case of failure were in case that there was no deal the that we were all in agreement
that there wasn't any deal the iranians were cast as the villains and the administration had an incentive, and an interest and stood behind making-- maybe even making the sanctions tougher. that is not what is going to happen if the deal gets voted down. iran will be the victor. it will have achieved one of its greatest diplomatic v rees in international arena. the europeans will be sort of flummoxed what to do. russia and china will be rushing in. and the united states will not be enforcing sanctions against say the bank of china. and so the all turn difficult-- alternatives existed but they no longer exist under those circumstances. >> the alternatives exist, now are you admitting there are al there were i'm saying there were. >> we have to discuss what were the alternatives and what are the alternatives now. i don't accept that the alternatives have slab vanished. we have to do an analysis of the alternatives. i suggest the congress should did the administration for an analysis of what were the alternatives what are they today, and what is the delta
between -- >> the president what he thinks the alternatives are. >> you can't have 535 people members of congress, negotiating for the united states that is not the way we work. >> chairman bob corker foreign -- >> i'm not saying they don't have a role but you can't have them negotiating. as far as the unilateral american sanctions we tried that in the bush administration. it didn't work. they went from almost no centrifuges to thousands of centrifuges with that approach. so the idea that our economy is so strong that our sanctions alone without the help of these other nations is going to bring them back to the table is a fantasy. and it's a dangerous fantasy because it's at odds with logic and the realities of international relations. >> you are overstating with what happening with the iran yen nuclear program did did the not surge program. they moved incrementally f you know anything about the iranian nuclear program you know they moved the program incrementally. they have done so under the
bush administration an under the obama. >> from to 19,000-- 9,000 operating serve. ri fujes. >> 1800 a year. >> rose: with are respect to the previous existing agreements on weapons what how could he have made a better deal? where is he wrong in terms of what he could have done. >> getting the iranians down to 0 was impossible. i think that's a red herring. was it necessary to throw in lifting the ban on conventional arms sales -- >> missiles after eight years. >> rose: he said in the end it seemed to me that my point is that he was-- he so believed in the deal he was prepped to make that concession. >> we had different positions for example on the duration of the limits on centrifuges, we went in with much longer durations. the iranians want shorter ones. we split the difference. are you telling me we couldn't have insisting on getting something better just for example what if we had had congressional members of the delegation
the way we did during the salt and start agreements. what if he used congress as the bad cop and john kerry would have said to zarif look i can't do certain things because congress won't approve the deal. but the relationship between the executive and congress got so poisoned during this process that the administration didn't even use congress in ways that could have helped them. >> rose: what was it that could have been achieved that was to the. >> i believe we could have gotten longer durations. i don't think we would have had to thrown in some the sweetener, some of the compliance provisions are ripe for mischief down the road. now it would have meant having the europeans in particular on board some of those tougher positions. is that possible? yes, i think it might have been possible. the french in particular were clearly leaning in that direction. it might have also meant you know look with the iranians, this is-- they're tough negotiators, this is a little bit of a game of chicken. we would have had to have been prepared to walk and one of the things the administration would have had to think hard about is taking as much as they did military force off the table. the incantation that no
option has been taken off the table, no one believed that. >> rose: i will ask you this is the reason the president was not prepared to walk was because he was too anxious for a deal s that your judgement. >> i think he was too anxious to avoid the use of-- potentially have to use military force. >> rose: i was prepared to make a bad deal in order not to have to use military force, i'm just trying to go to the logical extensions of your point of view. >> he agreed to what i believe is a flawed deal and not a deal that i believe was as good as he could have. >> rose: nor to avoid military action. >> yes to basically so that he thought this was necessary to avoid having to commit to using military force with all the uncertainty as you rightly say, that could have brought in to play. and i said that's why now we have got to find ways of compensating for that down the road. >> rose: and you agree with that. >> yeah. i mean it's a mood point, and also frackly it's kind of a minor point. you know, when the-- let's say, let's stipulate that on conventional weapons, you
know, we could have done better. okay. conventional weapons are nothing compared to nuclear capability, right. in the larger scheme of history. so when you talk about historians obama kept his eye on the right priorities which are nuclear, to keep the club closed. and that that it dwarfs every other factor. and somehow it's getting con plated. these very legitimate issues on hezbollah and proxy wars and all these are very important issues. but they're not nearly as important as the nuclear issue. and they're getting con plated as if they are. >> this does not keep the club closed. this actually compromises some important dimensions of the entire nonproliferation regime. this is an expensive agreement. you may think it's better than the alternatives you may is a thought it was worth is. >> rose: . >> but this is an expensive agreement. >> it keeps the club closed in the short run, there is no question about that. >> rose: what is going on with the gulf nations. everybody from the administration has been over there to try to convince them to be on board publicly
they are on board. >> publicly they're on board and privately they're less on board. but they are negotiating. contrary to prime minister netanyahu who feels that these negotiations somehow compromise his position and therefore have not been willing to engage the united states in comprehension and in increased cooperation and military sales and so on. a position by the way that the president harshly criticized in his meeting he had a meeting with jewish leaders the other night in the white house. and he was complaining that if these things are so important to israel and they should be at some point to israel, then why is netanyahu wasting time and not agreement-- agreeing to negotiate them because every minute is important. but the gulf countries are taking a different tact. they are giving the secretary of state what he wanted which was a lukewarm expression of support. they are negotiating with america about apparently a very big arms package.
>> rose: right. >> and i have to say there's also talk today of which i heard just on the way here of some sort of conciliation effort an american russia conciliation effort between saudi arabia and iran which. >> rose: with respect to syria. >> with respect to everything which you know if it got off the ground would change the entire equation around again. but i don't know whether that's realistic. >> rose: i think john kerry went off to see-- somewhere and the president has gone out of his way to express thanks to russia in terms of whatever support they gave him during this thing. >> russia is going to be critical if there is a chance of moving on syria. russia is a less difficult candidate to partner with than iran but if you could bring russia in the tent then it gives more leverage vis-a-vis a ran wz that would be a breakthrough. >> that would be tremendous if it were to happen. >> putin told jimmy carter not too long ago that he wanted an international conference and carter conveyed that to president
obama so there are some-- there is some discussion now about whether they can get all the parties in the region to have-- . >> rose: he wouldn't talk about it with many people as possible. >> that would be greet. those are hopes. the problem with the gulf nations is the saudis have already made it clear through former ambassadors that they want the iran deal. they used to be the gold standard where countries were actually agreeing will to get civilian nuclear technology if they didn't enrich or reopro ses. now we have the iran deal where the leading state sponsors of terrorism can enrich and rereopro ses. the saudis made it clear they want that deal. the notion that we are going to have the saudies who have the money and can buy the expertise and certainly have the strategic interest getting the same kind of nuclear threshold cap ability that iran has and that will expand over time. i think is the death for nonproliferation in the middle east and maybe elsewhere. there is the serious consequences of this deal. maybe we can stop them. but you know what the u.s. administration's response to
congress when they asked them this question is not to worry, no other country would want to go through the severe economic pain iran went through in order to get that capability. now that is a great answer except when it comes to the saudis, we're to the going to cut off saudi oil exports designate the saudi central bank and kick multiple saudi banks off the swift banking system. we are not going to have the same kind of sanctions tools to use against the saudis or the, ae or even the south koreans, for example without want to have the same kind of capability that is the problem that this deal will ultimately trigger not a proliferation-- . >> rose: in iran gets the nuclear weapons. >> no, charlie not if -- short of that. >> rose: no, but reaches a threshold. >> they are at the threshold this he are there now. >> rose: no, they are a month and a half away now. >> but the president said in the npr interview, the time that the breakout time will grow. but then from years 10 13 15 the breakout time will shrink. so iran will get to the threshold under this agreement with all the uncertainty of what comes
afterwards. and the danger-- . >> rose: unless something changes. >> unless there is a follow-on agreement. >> rose: or a change in behavior. >> you can't count on that. >> they have no program zero program. and if they race toward importing all kinds of foreigners to develop a program, it would create a huge crisis in the u.s.-saudi relations, they are very unlakely to want to risk that. >> they signed a multibillion-dollar deal with the russians and with the south koreans to build a quote, unquote charlie civilian nuclear program. >> rose: obviously we have more to discuss than we have time. thank you very much for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment stay with us. >> rose: we continue this evening with a lookback at 16 years of the daily show with jon stewart. the host of the nightly comedy central show announced in february that he would leave the program. the finale is airing tomorrow night. here is a look at what jon stewart and other guests on this program have said about the daily show over the years. >> what do you enjoy the most about it.
>> when it feels relevant. when you feel like the anger or the humor that you would feel in something that most of the people in the country have some idea of and some opinion of and you can get it out there that night then it feels really relevant. and that's the most enjoyable thing in the world. >> during the leadup to the war and certainly in the beginnings of the war you could argue that some of the best news was coming out of that comedy show. they were actually bringing up issues that weren't being talked about in other places. >> are they only getting their news from jon? >> well, the problem is that's not jon's fault. that's saying that there is a lack somewhere else of real information. >> i know something about his politics in terms of, i know something about-- comedian- 's politics am they tend to be iconoclasts. and they tend to be anti-status quo. >> rose: right. >> and you know, a lot of comedy is about tearing down status or status i think he
is probably not a big fan of authority. but jon is admirably bald. however people may characterize him. ef retime i ever work with him on something and i wrote with jon a lot when i was over at the daily show he tried to perceive what was the true intention of the person speaking left or right, whether or not it was something he agreed with. cuz he wanted to be able to honestly mock. >> i think he's one of the most important voices in information in this country. just because he delivers it with a comedic point of view doesn't diminish it in its importance in any way. >> the audience often looked to jon to make them-- to help them articulate very complicated painful feelings. and something on the trayvon martin verdict what be you could see in the audience people were looking to swron. >> once you establish a rhythm of how you do the show, you have to work harder to evolve it and constantly try and improve
it. and ultimately what will happen is our voice will become somewhat tired and somewhat redundant and predictable and that will be that. and 20 careers from now we will all meet on a panel at the aspen comedy festival and will be real old and the new comedy sattire guy will interview us for a little segment on hbo which by then will be tv you even though it's not tv now and that will be that. but that's not the measure of your life. and that's not the measure of it is to be proud of of what you are doing. and to work with people that you enjoy working with for as longs you can do it jz joining us from washington dan pfeiffer, a contributor to cnn he was a former senior advisor to president obama on strategy and communications. in new york ken auletta a contributor to the "new yorker" magazine where he writes the anals of communication call up also at the table brooke gladstone, host and managing editor of wnyc on the media
and dave itzkoff, a cultural reporter for "the new york times", also here bill carter, a cnn contributor author of the war for late night and for years a media observer for "the new york times". i'm pleased to have all of them on this program. >> what is the significance of what jon stewart brought to us? >> i mean there's so many. i mean he helped get rid of crossfire on cnn. big plus. he shameed jim conrail cramer. he got obama on the show seven times. and he made-- he made us laugh but not just at the jokes but ourselves as well. i think he is a significant contributor. >> rose: so tell me the truth, is it, what he did about fox some of the most pleasing aspects for you? >> oh yeah. no, i thought the fox thing was just great. and talk about bloviators and holding him up. and when they attacked him as they did recently, howie kurtz, he didn't get
defensive. >> rose: brooke? >> well, i think what's particularly interesting is that there was a reuters ipsos poll in may that had the question does jon stewart reflect your view of the world. and 51% of the respondents or 52% said yes he does. and that is of the 1500 but of republicans, it was 40% of republicans. >> rose: that's my point. >> rose: is it an attitude that he has rather than an ideology he has. >> exactly. and that's where the significance comes in. we all know about the 2009 poll where he was voted most trusted newsman in america. displacing a famous 1970s poll with walter cronkite. and why is that? it's because the digital world has changed the role of the person presenting information. it's no longer the voice of god from the clouds. es a's on your level the playing field is leveled as david weinberger who is kind of an internet visionary
said transparency is the new you know authenticity. that's what you trust. not not authority. not objectivity which everybody knows is a bit of a myth. so it's doneness. >> transparency and authenticity. >> transparency is the new objectivity. it's replaced object iflt as a general rater of trust. >> look, he was honest. what he was doing was honest. he came out and said what he thought but he also backed it up. nobody did more research than that show. i mean other media outlets were embarrassed all the time because he found things no one else could find. his staff would find a clip a person would come out and say to him something on fox news or a politician. and then he would say oh yeah, here is what you said five years ago. the exact opposite and they would find that he would be able to you know honestly portray a person and hold them to account. and yes, of course he had an idea logical but his point
of view was very important. he had a point of view. a lot of times in late night they try to obscure their point of view. he didn't do that. if he had a passion on a subject, he showed it. but it was really honest. >> i think part of the pleasure has been just watching this viewpoint evolve over a 16 year period. i can remember the show debutting in 1999. and it was you know he had inherited it from craig kilborn, maybe a watered down "saturday night live" weekend update kind of a show. and through you know really world events shaping a perspective, you had the 2000 recount, you had the events of 9/11. you had the crossfire appearance in 2004. you had you know, the last five years of you know just, you know political turnover and racial issues coming to the forum and i think jon stewart is somebody who came by his perspective honestly. and that's really really dictated the show. >> before we go to washington and dan pfeiffer take a look, this is a clip having to do with crossfire here it is.
>> it's funny i made a special effort to company on the show today because i have privately amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows mentioned this show as being bad. (laughter) and i wanted to i felt that that wasn't fair. and i should come here and tell you that it's not so much that it's bad as it is hurting america. so i wanted to come here today-- and say -- >> wait here is just what i wanted to tell you guys. stop. stop, stop stop stop hurting america. >> okay, now -- >> and come work for us. because we, as the people. >> how do you pay? >> not well. >> better than cnn i'm sure. >> but you can sleep at night. >> see, the thing is we need your help. right now you're helping the politicians and the corporations. and we're left out there -- >> we are too rough on them when they make mistakes.
>> you're not too rough on them, are you part of their strategies. you are partisan what dow call it, hacks. >> rose: was that the end of crossfire. >> actually a couple months later, mr. klein who was the head of cnn announced that i agree with jon stewart and we're ending the show. and then came back under -- >> so dan pfeiffer the president appeared 7 8 time. >> 7 time-- 7 times in his liefer and three times as president. >> rose: why was it good for the president of the united states to go on jon stewart. >> well, i think, well first, jon stewart embodies two things that have happened over the course of this 16 years. the first is the sort of digitallization of the news. because jon stewart's influence was not just what people saw if they were watching comedy central at night. it was in the clips they were shared on facebook and twitter of his the various things he would do. and also he came of age at the the exact time when our politics and the media were getting incredibly absurd.
and he pointed that out in a way no one else would which is why so many people particularly the young people who were an important part of obama's coalition watched. and so if you are going to communicate with young people in america, you have to talk to jon stewart. an jon stewart just became someone not so important and influential that the president would just go on his show. someone the president would call into the oval office and talk to just as he would do you know the anchors of the network news. cuz that was a voice that really mattered. and probably more so in some ways than your traditional news reader anchor. because he would carry that point of view whether it was getting the 9/11 workers bill-passed or like he was beating the president up nonstop about health care.gov. and we were very concerned that jon stewart would turn pem off from it. >> rose: jond the fact that he wanted to reach his audience did you want to learn something from jon stewart. >> look, the president has tremendous respect for jon stewart as an entertainer,
as a personality as someone who is incredibly smart. the president will say that his interviews with jon stewart were some of the toughest he would do. not because, in a different way than an interview with you, charlie or someone else would be tough, because you never knew where he would go. you know, in 2012 we did interviews with all the network news anchors brian williams, scott pelley dianne sawyer,. and the only person in that entire campaign who asked the president about drones was jon stewart. like he, he didn't, he would think about things that were not just sort of the immediate "politico" fiasco of the day. and that made it hard to prepare for. cause you never knew where was going to go. > rose: let me go to that jon stewart as an interviewer camp. >> i think one. things that enthralled me about him and i think entloled the audience is that it was a sense of danger on his show. you didn't know what he was going to do. that pick me up on that last point. >> rose: i don't think jim cramer knew. >> that is what i mean. they didn't know what he was going to do.
so therefore you're sitting there, kind of tense and kind of curious. >> i was reminded of his first interview with rick santorum. which was a great disappointment. it seemed so conventional. there were no difficult questions asked. you know afterwards i turned to my husband and i said boy he just rolled over on that one. and then the next day jon stewart came back and said we've got answer lot of feedback on my interview with rick santorum. some people said it sucked. and some people said it sucked! and you know and the thing is, is who does that? only-- . >> rose: the transparency. >> precisely. >> he does the same thing about rumsfeld went back years later and said i missed on that and i have regretted it every day since. he felt like he had sort of an obligation to that audience. he would make fun of the fact that people should not trust him as a news man. but he took it seriously. he knew that audience was paying attention to what he said. that young audience. and he was responsible. he wanted to really do what
they expected. >> even the way that he sort of handled his exit these kind of receipt prospective clip packages they have been showing these past few weeks they are saulses self-dep ra kiingt, making fun of how bad his singing voices with or the bad job in the celebrity interviews. >> rose: he would deny up and down that he was a journalist. i was at an event with him and said you know what you are doing really is journalism. no, it's not. how long ago was that it was after the hurricane sand aye, not that long ago. and i said you're not any different, really from thomas nasdaq or mark twain or will rogers or people like that. you are a is a tirist but also you have journalism in your bones. and he just said no i'm a comedian. and we really really emphasize that all the time that is what i am, i am a comic. >> rose: did it have an impact when he was critical of the president which he felt necessary to point out to his audience several days ago, because he had been criticized for rolling over on some issue. >> we feared his criticism. because it had more
influence than a somewhat more traditional journalist or a journalist f you will was doing it. and you know particularly you know that his first interview that dave recounts in "the new york times" the other day, it was one where we went into it with high hopes, it was right before the midterm elections, hopefully young people would watch it and get fired up. he kind of skew erred the president. and the stories that came out of that was obama has lost his liberal base because swron stewart was so tough to him. and that hurt. you know, he was an influential voice an when es a he for you that is great. and when he's not t say huge problem. >> was anything worse than the he is biehl yaus-- he is belluous certificate view when he said basically there is just a disas ter saying i will download every movie of all time and you download and we'll see who is first. and it basically that because he did the republicans were hitting him for it but when he did it was like this thing is a disaster. everybody-- . >> rose: let me go back what de-- what did the president talk to jon about? >> well, you know i wasn't
in the room for t the president kicked all the staff out for it which is a sign of respect for jon stewart. but i know that the genesis of it was one of them was certainly around the time when health care.gov was happening and our big concern was, it is not that stewart was wrong about it but he was continuing to hammer us even after it was figured and we were worried that young people who would get their news from stewart wouldn't sign up for health care because they would think it was still broken. when you mentioned the he is biehluous interview which goes exactly to the danger of stewart. you know you could go in there and it would be a fine interyou have and he makes some jokes and or he can take you down. i worked for tom daschle many years ago long before same sex marriage was an issue that the country had moved on. and tom dashem was a democratic leader and he went in there right during the debate around the constitutional amendment on marriage and jon stewart skew erred him and pushed him really hard as to why would it be wrong if a man
why would it be wrong for same sex marriage and pushed him really hard and called him out before any journalist, anyone else was doing that and you just never knew when that was going to happen. >> rose: so why is he leaving? >> i don't think anybody knows exactly. i think he certainly got to scratch an itch when he made-- rose does water. and he certainly has expressed the idea of just wanting to spend a little more time with his family. but it's unthinkable that he is going to just ride off into the sunset. >> when they say in any endeavor they want to spend more time with the family they've usually been fired right. but in jon's case it was actually, i absolutely believe that, i interviewed him one night he was doing the oscars, i was in l.a.. >> rose: which was not a big success. >> it wasn't. he was in his dressing really and i was interviewing him on the west coast and he looked at the watch and said it's bedtime please excuse me. he got on the phone and he told stories to his two little children on the phone. i said this guy is very
involved with his family. when he announced this i thought that is credible to me. he said i'm never home for dinner with those kids. and they're young. i want to do it for a while. he'll find another outlet. >> rose: let's raise that question. what will he do next. because there are some people who believe you find one show that is so you and david letterman, the show he does, ted koppel the show jon stewart and that show. you become so part of that that is your show. you have found the show. >> but sometimes you get tired of doing it. i could imagine-- that he felt spent. >> he himself said when he made his announcement you don't need a flagging host. you need one that is 100%. he was tired. i interviewed him right as he was taking this job. and he said you know people ask me you know do i feel that i ever accomplished anything up until now in his career. before he took over the daily show. you know what did i feel really good about. and first i thought nothing.
and then i thought yes there is something i feel great about. i left jersey. i came to new york. i became a comedian. and i got to express my accept. and he said that before the daily show. and maybe he is done what he can do. maybe he's just run out of strength. >> he's tired but he does say i will never have-- i know i will never have another job like this. he acknowledges that. but as you point out this is the thing for him, the defining thing. he's to the going have this outlet again. he knows that. but i think he's spent. he's done it. >> but also to go back to the transparency. >> rose: coming right at you dan. >> you can believe that he's the guy that will be comfortable no matter what he does because he's comfortable in his own skin and that comes through the tv. >> rose: dan what is interesting about all of the late night arena for me, is how much of it is about politics. politics is the daily fodder of late-night television. i mean you would think there would be more, there would be more people not just doing what jon did so
brilliantly but more political salttire. >> dan? >> i think that the internet will breed not a thousand-- but a a lot of people doing what jon stewart z not as well, i'm sure. but to give you a sense of how influential late night comedy is in politics is in the white house you get clips every day that run through the news what was on the tv news about three or four years ago we started putting all the late night comedy clips to see the monologues, to see what was driving public opinion. because if something happens and it may make a short mention on the nightly news but if it's getting hammered every night by stewart or fallon or leno or whoever, all of a sudden people start to know about it pretty quickly. so we began to monitor that to see like where public opinion was going. which i think just speaks the fact that the white house looks ef reday at what was on the late night comedy shows, how influential that has become, as media gets aggregated and there has been-- people trusting media
less, the comedians become more poer withful. >> don't you think the late night shows have gotten less political. the network shows that the fallon and-- and. >> he will do a couple jokes but the monologues have become almost the least important component of their shows now. >> the presidential election we will see what happens. i do think what the monologues do and this is interesting dan is pointing that out and the white house they create the narrative. there is a nar tich for what happened. and if all the comedians are going after that narrative it reinforces it and the country, it starts to really sink in in the country. the interesting thing about obama, i think is that he has never been identified in a way as what is his comic thing. i mean you know clinton was a hound. and you know and kburb wrb. >> a hound is the right word. >> rose: i could think of a better word. >> and bush was kind of a dope. anything he did-- but obama doesn't have-- he's aloof. how do you-- that is his
thing. he's been harder for them to define, i think. and that's one of the reason there hasn't been quite as much i think. >> rose: do you agree with that dan? >> i do. i mean part of it is we have been fortunate not to have that idea hammered into the public every night on every comedy show. but this will give you another sense of how important it is i mean this is of theen foregotten because it is a 100 years ago now, but in 2007 when the president was running against hillary clinton we were desperately looking for ways to draw a contrast with her. and one of the ways we found to do it was the president had a guest appearance on "saturday night live" where he got to take a pop at her. and that to the extent that things could go viral back there 2007 that went viral and that was worth way more than the time it took to go to new york to do it. and so i think the presidential election will determine whether you know how much politics an comedy will stay intertwined because it was a huge part in the last two presidential elections. and if done all trump is the nominee i can guarantee it will be this one too.
>> rose: what david letterman said, the one reason he regredded leaving was because of done all trump. what do you think will do now, jon stewart. >> i have no idea. i know i will see him at mets games. >> with his kids. and i think it will be comfortable doing that for a wichl but i have no idea. >> i don't think jon knows. but it was interesting he showed up at a come dee club two weeks ago just did ten minutes of stand-up, just showed up. that is in his bloodstream. so i think he is probably going to do a little more of that. d then figure out maybe other movie or something. ll do something ubstantial. e guy is so bright. i think he'll do something really substantial. >> i thought when he made rosewater that was a real curve ball. that was a story of real substance. >> rose: he said whether he wants to page another film did he enjoy the experience that much. >> and it really took some doing for him to get the arrangement with company dee central to even get the time off to make that film. now that he has a completely clear schedule you know an infanity campus to play w i wonder if he is going to
look for more of those kinds of stories that he can really help bring attention to and a lens to. >> rose: late night continues to fascinate thank you dan. >> thank you,brooke, thank you, ken, thank you dave great to you have bill gooed to see you again. >> thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us on-line at pbs.org an charliest rose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org